Harvard U. Eases the Burden for Low Income Families

HarvardUniversity is making it easier for students fromlow-income families to attend the university.
Starting next semester, students from low-to-moderate incomehouseholds will not have to pay tuition-others will pay a smallportion of the tuition. This is part of Harvard’s four prongedinitiative announced at the end of February.
A student’s parents with a household income below $40,000 will nothave to make any monetary contributions towards their attendance.For students from households with an income of $40,000 to $60,000,their parents will only have to contribute approximately$2,000.
Currently, the undergraduate cost for Harvard is $37,928 per yearwith two-thirds of Harvard students on financial aid. Two milliondollars has been allocated for the expanded financial aid next yearand they hope to help over 1,000 families.
Sally Donahue, director of financial aid at Harvard, said thatfeedback on the initiative thus far has been tremendous. “We gotfeedback from students in community colleges who never thought ofapplying to Harvard,” she said.
Although she said they have had financial aid aimed at studentsfrom low-income households before, she that they “came up withsomething on a slightly different angle.”

“We want to send the strongest possible message that Harvard isopen to talented students from all economic backgrounds,” saidHarvard University President Lawrence H. Summers.
Donahue said that the main goal was to remove economic barriers forall students. “Our goal was not to increase our enrollment,” shesaid.
Donahue is excited about the initiative, but doesn’t think it willstart a trend among other schools.
“I think there are a lot of schools and institutions that have alot of really terrific programs,” she said.
One school that doesn’t plan to follow suit isGeorgetownUniversity. Julie Green, assistant vice president forcommunications said, “We plan to remain committed to the financialaid system we have in place.” Their system has been in place sincethe 1970s, and half of Georgetown’s students are currently onfinancial aid.